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Now that we are comfortable developing and designing web content for desktop screens, just when we finally understood how to translate the web experience to mobile screens, there is a new challenge ahead of us. How do we develop and design web content when the physical environment becomes our canvas?
While for a period there was (and largely still is) an emerging trend to stick a screen on everything (remember the Internet fridge), increasingly the smartphone is becoming our swiss army knife for information access. Constantly connected to the Internet, smartphones have literally made information available at our fingertips in more personalised and less obtrusive ways than embedded screens.
With the arrival of new display technologies, like integrated personal projectors, we will be able (again) to design for a much larger content area. There is a danger though that this will be limited to marginal use cases, such as watching photos or movies, when in fact this opens up an entirely new and exciting design space. Drawing on the sensing power of smartphones, projected content could instead be designed to provide rich interaction and contextualised visualisation of information.
The session will draw on research projects and visions of the future to sketch out the possibilities of this new design space, and how current web practices can be translated into a future where using the world as a canvas will change information visualisation and access all over again.
Let’s start with the assumption that computing and networking are as cheap to incorporate into product designs as plastic and aluminum. Anything can tweet, everything knows about everything. The cloud extends from smart speed bumps to exurban data systems, passing through us in the process. We’re basically there technologically today, and over the next [pick a date range] years, we’ll be there distribution-wise.
Here’s the issue: now that we have this power what do we do with it? Yes we can now watch the latest movies on our phones while ignoring the rest of the world (if you believe telco ads) and know more about peripheral acquaintances than you ever wanted. But, really, is that it? Is it Angry Birds all the way down?
Of course not. Every technology’s most profound social and cultural changes are invisible at the outset. Cheap information processing and networking technology is a brand new phenomenon, culturally speaking, and quickly changing the world in fundamental ways. Designers align the capabilities of a technology with people’s lives, so it is designers who have the power and responsibility to think about what this means.
This talk will discuss where ubiquitous computing is today, some changes we can already see happening, and how we can begin to think about the implications of these technologies for design, for business and for the world at large.
11th–14th October 2011